Staff Reporter

Have been replaced by new gunmen for Congress leaders

Higher-ups question them; recover their weapons

Replacing gunmen is normal procedure, says SP

WARANGAL: Eleven personal security officers (PSOs) of Congress leaders who were present at Mahabubabad railway station on Friday, were recalled and replaced by new gunmen. They were questioned by their higher-ups and their weapons were recovered for further inquiry.

Speaking to The Hindu, Superintendent of Police Shah Nawaz Qasim said security to the Congress leaders was not withdrawn but replaced. The gunmen of MLAs -- K. Surekha and M. Kavitha -- MLC K. Muralidhar, former Minister D.S. Redya Naik and senior leader Naini Rajender Reddy were recalled by the police officials.

The SP said it was normal procedure that after every firing, the gunmen would present themselves before the officers for a statement and hand over their weapons for inspection. “It is an official procedure and has nothing to do with rumours making rounds. We do inquire into how many rounds were issued, how many fired, collect empty shells and send them to Forensic Science Laboratory for further examination. This is our administrative procedure,” he explained.

The power to provide security or withdraw gunmen to any leader or person rests with the State-level Security Review Committee and district-level officials have little role in the decision.

There were contradicting reports that it was Konda Murali, MLC, and Mr. Naini Rajender Reddy who first fired at the agitating mob, instigating the trouble that ensued. There were also reports that it was the PSO accompanying Mr. Murali who first opened fire at the agitating students. However, it was not clear who opened fire first.

DSP begins probe

Meanwhile, Yellandu DSP Tirupathi, who was entrusted with the job of investigating into the incident, began his work visiting Mahabubabad today.